Yardmaster96 posted:
Trust me, I know, if we leave the wifi active on our phones, Samsung will skip the cell signal and go straight for the buffet line known as wifi signal.

 

Interesting issue, I truthfully hadn't thought of that.  I guess I'm spoiled with gigabit unlimited data on my Internet connection and don't consider stuff like that.

I am curious, what kind of phone updates would chew up so much data?  Exactly how much data are you allowed a month?  It sounds like it's not much!

When the TIU is turned off, the phone automatically looks for the network which you have designated "connect automatically."  I did have one Samsung phone, since retired, that when running trains would by itself switch from the WIU to the home network, causing loss of control.

gunrunnerjohn posted:
Yardmaster96 posted:
Trust me, I know, if we leave the wifi active on our phones, Samsung will skip the cell signal and go straight for the buffet line known as wifi signal.

 

Interesting issue, I truthfully hadn't thought of that.  I guess I'm spoiled with gigabit unlimited data on my Internet connection and don't consider stuff like that.

I am curious, what kind of phone updates would chew up so much data?  Exactly how much data are you allowed a month?  It sounds like it's not much!

There is an easy solution. Set your wifi network on your phone or tablet as a "metered" connection. This will prevent background data, updates, and any kind data dump you may be worried about. The only time that wifi connection will use data is when you specifically open an app in the foreground that you see running on the screen.  A strong recommendation anyway if you are running on a connection with bandwidth limits.

I've done some extensive monitoring of the DCS WIU of how it will use your internet connection and have only that it will request the current time from an NTP server on boot up. That's about 4 kilobytes of data, the tiniest droplet of water in the massive internet ocean.

H1000

Yardmaster has really given this topic a lot of exposure (in a fair way) and here is my response from early last year when he brought up the remote vs app.

https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...74#79001688802693474

Yardmaster96 posted:

  Why, why, why would you want to use a tiny cell phone screen when you have nice rubber buttons that are easy to find and feel.

Because on a 7 inch tablet the controls are easy to understand instead of a tiny LCD screen or even smaller icon buttons. I've used both apps and the ability to read the entire function vs trying to interpret a tiny icon or 3 letter acronym has turned me off from using the remotes after seeing how the app worked. Also, the remotes cost a lot more than a bargain bin tablet. I've had to replace a dropped remote (before the days of the apps) and that was an expense I didn't look forward to.

Also keep in mind that the apps are software, and easily changed. I envision someday where we as operators will be able to customize the look and controls we see on the apps. We would be able to put commonly used controls on the home screen of the app in any way we want them to appear. Personally, I wish the the red wheel on the cab remote was in a different location but that's never going to happen.

And yet another thing that the apps help facilitate is to allow those with disabilities to participate better. There is an older member in our train club that has Parkinsons and operating the remotes with there tiny buttons is extremely difficult, let alone holding them like we do. The app with larger buttons ( on a 11 inch tablet) and the use of a weighted stylus has been much easier for him to use. Before the apps, he was limited to conventional operation only.

As for the actual Wifi vs Bluetooth they are are both good and each have there pros and cons. I have experienced the range problems with Bluetooth engines. But as Bigdogetrain said earlier, this only happens on large layouts and you may need to centrally locate yourself or follow the train a bit.

Bluetooth is a simple setup and WiFi offers more flexibility with multiple operators because of how the communication is handled to the train controller.

H1000

I have connected a mouse to my Android tablet via Bluetooth and run was able to run the app directly that way using a mouse cursor on the screen.

MTH could very easily incorporate an HID API in their app that would allow a controller (one or two handed) to control buttons and features within the app. This way you can have a nice large screen for visual feedback and control interface of a remote that fits in your hands like the picture below.

This one is a little exotic but if gives you the general idea.

 

H1000

H1000

It would be very informational if those advocating the app or the remote would also indicate how many trains they operate at the same time, whether they are on separate loops or intersecting routes, whether they do frequent throwing of switches as train move along, etc.

Personally, I find that when 6 or so trains are running through my 50+/- switches (any train can go anywhere at any time), and I am doing some yard switching, I can't flip through the proper wifi screens fast enough.  But maybe it's just old age---although I do remember the IDs of my 25 DCS engines and most of the switches.

I checked my emails before I turned in, and here I sit.  So many good questions, so much good advice, so where do I start.

RJR - I have 19 switches, 6 locomotives, 4 I can run at one time if I stay on my toes.  I won't go into how I can run 4 because you would need to see the layout in order to get the full picture.  I have One TIU hooked to two AIU's, one piggy backed off the other, and one set of wires running from the Fixed out 1 port to the track.  12 gauge bus wires with twenty two 16 gauge feeders.  My F5 button is going south on me so when I first begin a session, opening a switch consists of me holding down the F5 button for up to 10 seconds and finally the switch in question opens.  As I open more switches throughout the session, it warms up and begins to get with the program.  As long as I keep track of who is open and who isn't, running four trains is merely a task of putting one train on the outer most track, a second train on track 2, and using track 3/the yard track, I can open a series of switches that let two more trains exit their respective parking track onto the yard track and then immediately exit the yard track onto someone elses parking track, which in this case would be the two trains running safely opposite each other on the main lines, and with the southern and northern switches open, you get a small oval within an oval and you can run two more trains, while the other two sit and wait.  Because my F5 is hinky at first, I have to think ahead before I act so I don't accidentally have one of the inner oval trains suddenly exiting onto an occupied track 2.  Oh, thanks for the great info on how your cell phone changes wifi connections without warning.  Sound like a tablet with no phone ability is the better way to go if you go this route.  Larger screen too.

H1000- Didn't know you could do that.  Do now.  I will keep that in mind if my dedicated remote gathers even more maintenance issues and I do switch to WIFI operation.  Thanks for the tip.  In regards to my Why, Why, Why article.  You make a great point.  You may have touched on this but just in case, apps can be edited, redistributed to the app store or google play in a heartbeat, and as long as MTH lets us know this, we can delete or uninstall our old app then install the new one with the updates/changes.  Red wheel on the cab remote?  Not clear on that one, my whiz wheel is gray.  Oh well.  I forgot the part about your friend with Parkinson's.  Another big pro on the list of pros and cons.  I have said this before and stand by it, voice activated.  Has its issues like WIFI, but hands free would be nice.  Maybe not 100 percent voice, keep some on screen stuff to handle settings issues, but who knows.  "START ENGINE one" or  "START 7700", i'll go as far as START Big Boy Denver, if you can rename the engine.

I looked at my wife's phone, Samsung 8, and looked at the wifi connections settings, but couldn't find where it let me change the phone connection to metered connection.  I know where it is on my laptop, but didn't see it on the phone.  Any suggestion or guidance?

Gunrunner John - Hughes Net only has packages that cost a lot, a lot more, and hideously way too much for what we need out here.  We discussed AT&T as an alternative, but when I looked into it, it's nothing more than what our cell phones do now, and do not so great.  Rely on a tower to send a signal to, in this case, an antenna attached to your house.  The place already looks like NORAD what with Hughes, Directv, and the Antenna tower we never use but keep.  We already have sketchy cell service that provides us dropped calls and the ever wonderful spinning circle as we try to watch Disney and console our impatient grandson.  We have unlimited data on our cell service, but Hughes doesn't provide unlimited in the since it is unlimited, but the ever foofy OMG package that costs over $100 and still forces you to watch your usage, hoping you will think you have gallons of gigs, when you really only have a bathtub full versus the sink full we have now.  I have no idea what her phone latched onto but it was a hangry little cuss and it ate a bunch of bytes.

Oh, one final thing about Hughes Net.  If I am willing to stay up until 2 am and work till 7 am, I get the bathtub full of data I never use, but my wife uses every year at Christmas when hallmark comes out with the new ornaments.

H1000 - I should note that I meant great idea using the mouse.  Never thought of that.  And, it's been my experience, if I leave wifi, Bluetooth, and or mobile data on, my battery life expectancy goes from a good chance at one more day, to get its affairs in order it'll be dead by noon.  So I turn all those off to save battery.  Did I mention I live in the seventh level of H when it comes to modern conveniences?  We're lucky that laundry doesn't mean going to the creek and beating our clothes on a rock.  Sunshine is also a metered service.  Our nearest neighbor is just a plane ride away.  We have food and supplies air dropped by the peace corps.  But I have trains.

Yardmaster96 posted:

I looked at my wife's phone, Samsung 8, and looked at the wifi connections settings, but couldn't find where it let me change the phone connection to metered connection.  I know where it is on my laptop, but didn't see it on the phone.  Any suggestion or guidance?

 

Tap Settings > Data usage, tap the three-dot menu button in the top-right corner of the screen, then tap Network restrictions.

You should see a list of your saved Wi-Fi networks. If one of them is your WiFi, flip on the appropriate switch to flag it as a "metered" network.

H1000

RJR- That's what I am going let David do on Tuesday when I run it up to him in Lexington.  He has more experience and knows more about what to look for.  Once he does it, if he'll let me watch, I will have more confidence to do this kind of stuff myself.  Thanks for the information though.  Helps me pinpoint what to look for.

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